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Benefits of Self-Help Groups

PALESTINE, April 9, 2013--The benefits of self-help groups have grown enormously over the last decade—and for good reason.  Researchers, participants, and physicians all recognize and appreciate the benefits of support groups.  More and more people are being referred to these groups for peer support, guidance, and empathy as individuals battle a host of conditions from weight loss, co-dependency, alcoholism, and bereavement. A self-help group or support group has these characteristics:

  • Mutual help is the primary goal of the environment
  • Members run the group themselves
  • Members share the same problem or experience
  • There is no cost for participating in the group

The benefits of support groups are undeniable.  Studies point to the benefit of mutual support in helping members deal with the realities of having a serious illness, understanding emotional trauma, resisting addiction, or pursuing healthier lifestyles.  Here are some startling facts:

  • 50% fewer psychiatric patients require re-hospitalization after participating in a support group for 10 months.
  • After one year of participation in a substance abuse treatment agency, support group members reported significant improvements to their situations in comparison to those who did not join in groups.
  • Individuals who participated in a peer-led weight loss group lost an equal amount of weight in contrast to individuals who participated in a similar group led by a professional, at half the cost.

Information provided by the Palestine Resource Center for Independent Living,  421 Ave. A., Palestine, Texas, 903-729-7505.

 

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